Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Conn Iggulden's Genghis: Birth of a Nation

Genghis: Birth of an Empire: A NovelThis is the first book of a trilogy and all I can say is, bring the rest of it! (Please see last month's review of "Bones of the Hills" by Lisa Yarde for a review of a book later in the series.)
“Birth of an Empire” starts with the birth of Temujin, the first Genghis of the Mongolian people. We then rejoin the very young Temujin when his father is murdered and the tribe abandons Temujin and his family. Expected to die on the steppes, the boy Temujin saves his family from starvation and the cold of winter and eventually, they discover a small portion of safety among the wandering herdsman of Mongolia. Had Temujin’s tribe and its new leader assumed his death, history might have had a different outcome, but the tribe’s new Khan fears vengeance for the family’s abandonment. He hunts Temujin’s family, captures Temujin and tries to kill him.
This launches Temujin into a life-long battle, first for survival and eventually for revenge against his father’s murderers and unification for his people.
Birth of a Empire has a little bit of a slow start, but the setting and time frame is epic, so the slow build is appropriate. Mr. Iggulden’s use of historical facts has been questioned by others, but personally, I'm not bothered if he changed things here and there to suit his story. It's fiction. If I wanted historical facts, I'd go researching. I will say, the setting and characterizations are unrelenting in their realism. If you like your historical fiction with a bit of blood and a lot of emotional zest, don’t be intimidated. It’s only the Mongolian Horde, after all.
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